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Spark Grants - Human Trafficking

Congratulations to our Human Trafficking Spark Grant Recipients

KidsPeace was awarded $5,000 for its Enhanced Clinical Trauma and Life Skills Program for female adolescent victims of trafficking and trauma. The program addresses the mental health needs of victims of commercial sex exploitation and provides both trauma-informed care and the development of life skills.

Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley was awarded $12,500 for the 2018 Lehigh Valley Human Trafficking Conference:  Hiding in Plain Sight, which would be the first conference that brings together multiple disciplines from across the entire Lehigh Valley to address, identify and prevent human trafficking crimes.

Valley Against Sex Trafficking was awarded $12,500 for its VAST Survivor Community Center, a survivor-driven idea with the purpose to both house VAST headquarters and provide community-based, peer-led support to survivors of human trafficking.

Truth for Women, Inc. was awarded $20,000 for its Truth Home Program, which offers a safe place family setting for women, in an intensive therapeutic environment. The program deals with the serious issues survivors of sex trafficking face in a holistic way, focusing on the entire person—body, soul, and spirit. The home offers the opportunity for an individualized recovery plan through mentoring, counseling, coaching, life skills, education, family therapy, and spiritual encouragement.

MAKE A GIFT | 50th Anniversary Spark Grant Initiatives for Human Trafficking

Gifts in the form of a check can be made payable to the Spark Grants - Human Trafficking and mailed to The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, 840 West Hamilton Street, Suite 310, Allentown, PA 18101. Gifts can also be made via credit card by clicking the PayPal 'Donate' button below. A PayPal account is not required to make an online gift to the Fund. Gifts to the fund will be used to support the Community Foundation's funding of organizations in Northampton and Lehigh Counties who provide mental and behavioral health services and education.

GET INFORMED. Learn more about human trafficking programs by viewing the four grant program videos. These organizations are tackling this important issue in the Lehigh Valley in a creative and collaborative way...

Shea Rhodes, Esq., at LVCF Human Trafficking presentationHidden Crisis: Human Trafficking in our Community

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) announced the recipients of $50,000 in Spark Grants for human trafficking programs at the Foundation’s program, “Hidden Crisis: Human Trafficking in our Community,” on October 11, 2017, at the Third Street Alliance in Easton, Pa.

The program was presented by The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) in partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Women United and featured Shea Rhodes, Esq., Director of The Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and Cat Rojas, a survivor of human trafficking and a leader in the community. Also speaking were Bernie Story, President and CEO of the Community Foundation, Marilee Falco, president of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Women United, and Michael Wilson, director of communications, LVCF.

See the video of Shea Rhodes, Esq.

Photo gallery from event...

LVCF Human Trafficking Spark Grant Event

About Human Trafficking (September 2017)

Human trafficking is happening across the United State, and in Pennsylvania including the Lehigh Valley. Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to manipulate victims into engaging in commercial sex acts, or labor or services, in exchange for something of monetary value.

One of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that the industry generates more than $32 billion per year. According to Polaris Project, the average entry of children into sex trafficking is age 12-15 and runaway youth are high risk for exploitation by traffickers.

Human Sex Trafficking*

  • Over 50% of human trafficking victims are children.
  • Up to 90% of women involved in prostitution or sex trafficking in the United States have a childhood history of sexual abuse.
  • In 2015, there were 4, 136 reports of sex trafficking in the U.S.
  • 89% of pornography comes from the U.S. It drives the demand for sex trafficking and is used as a training tool with sexually trafficked victims
  • 1/3 of runaway youth will be lured into trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.
  • $250,000 is the average amount of single sex slave earns for her trafficker in a year.
  • 47% of victims reported injury by men who demanded sex acts seen in porn.
  • 1 out of 10 U.S. men buy sex from trafficked women or girls.

In the Valley*

  • 3 minors identified as victims of convicted traffickers in the Lehigh Valley in 2015.
  • Over 40 victims of sex trafficking served by VAST in the Lehigh Valley since 2012
  • Since 2012, 5 traffickers were put behind bars and were “doing business” in 7 different sates.
  • In 2016, 17 businesses currently identified as sexually oriented.

(Source - VAST, Valley Against Sex Trafficing)

Extra Facts:

  • According to VAST, between 85 and 95 percent of prostitution is pimp controlled, and it often leads to drug and alcohol addiction. (Source)
  • 1 in 4 women in the United States will have been abused sexually before the age of 18. (Source)
  • Between sex trafficking and labor trafficking, some 27 million people in the U.S. are currently victims of trafficking – and 300,000 children each year are at risk of joining that number. (Source)
  • In 2014, ICE, which investigates human trafficking domestically and across American borders, reported a nearly six-fold increase in human trafficking convictions. (Source)
  • Between 2012 and 2014, convictions for the crimes more than doubled from 381 to 828 nationally. (Source)
  • In 2015, Lehigh County recorded a 34 percent increase in prostitution arrests due to online prostitution busts and a heroin epidemic that has affected the Lehigh Valley. (Source)